Industry veteran Tim Kochis, the former CEO of Aspiriant, is getting back into the wealth management business full-time, joining DeVoe & Co. to launch a new succession planning initiative.

DeVoe and Kochis
Former Aspiriant CEO Tim Kochis (right) is back in the advisory game, joining forces with David DeVoe.

Kochis, who remains an owner of Aspiriant, has worked as an independent consultant since stepping down from the firm in 2009. Since engineering his own succession plan at Aspiriant, he co-authored a book on the subject, “Success and Succession” in 2015.

“I think there’s an enormous unfulfilled demand for effective succession planning,” Kochis says. “Not enough firms are doing it, yet the continuity of the firm, and the necessary client service offering, depend on a successful succession plan.”

Kochis will spearhead “SuccessionWorks,” a new transition planning offering by DeVoe, best known for its consulting, valuation and investment banking M&A work with RIAs.

“Industry studies show that more than 60% of advisers do not have a written succession plan,” DeVoe says. “Less than one-third of firms have actually implemented a plan, so it’s obviously still a pain point, and we want to help advisers make the transition process easier.”

The new product, DeVoe says, will lead RIA owners through a series of questions to determine their transition needs and budget, recommend a consulting solution and help advisory firms put the plan in place.

The importance of continuity in a firm is too often overlooked, according to Kochis.

“Smart existing clients are going to start asking questions as a firm’s principals get older,” he points out. “Firms without a succession plan risk losing clients and getting referrals.”

Having been through the process himself, Kochis also notes that firm owners also underestimate the time and emotional toll succession planning takes.

“Planning a transition is very complex and time consuming,” he explains. “You have internal versus external sale decisions; you have to determine valuation; negotiate a deal structure and figure out how equity will be distributed. And owners have to go through the very emotional process of relinquishing control of a company they have created.”

Kochis co-founded San Francisco-based Kochis Fitz in 1991, and after merging with Los Angeles-based Quintile in 2007, he worked with closely with Quintile principal Rob Francais to smooth the way for Francais to take over as head of the combined firm, which now has over $9 billion in AUM.

Kochis, who becomes a managing director at DeVoe, led the wealth management practices at Bank of America and Deloitte through the 1980s before co-founding Kochis Fitz. He was awarded the inaugural Charles Schwab Impact award in 2006; the FPA’s P. Kemp Fain Jr. award in 2010 and Bob Veres’ Insider's Forum inaugural leadership award in 2013.

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